Many of the world's best 18-and-under women's junior surfers have gathered in Kiama, NSW, Australia, for the WSL World Junior Championship. Well known for its beautiful coastline and high-quality surf, Kiama is a short 120km drive from Sydney along New South Wales' bucolic South Coast.
Tucked along the northern stretch of Bombo Beach under the watchful gaze of the sentinel-like Bombo Headland, the competitors faced tricky conditions: 2-to 3-foot shifting beachbreak reforms over a moody, tide-sensitive sand bank with a nagging light surface chop. Not epic, but certainly very contestable and a good way to open a cushy 10-day event window.
Kicking things off was Brisa Hennessy, who went straight back into top gear after her November performance at the Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour's Maui Women's Pro in November. The powerful regularfootr dominated her Round One heat, stomping on her tail with power hacks, flying over soft sections with superior technique.
Mahina Maeda -- perhaps the most experienced surfer in the event by virtue of her 2014 World Junior Championship title and 2015 runner-up finish at this event -- showed her strong tactical game in a wave-starved heat. "Coming from Hawaii makes it hard to get used to these shifting beach break conditions," Maeda told the WSL. "There were some good waves out there but I found it hard to find them."
Saving the best for last, however, was red-hot Aussie Macy Callaghan. The wiry regularfooter from Avoca Beach may be the most in-form competitor in the entire event, including men and women. Nearly unstoppable during the Australasian 2016 season, Callaghan has the Whippet-quick lines and soul-arched steez of a young lady who's watched more than her share of Rip Curl Search videos. Films chock full of another stylish Australian, 3x World Champ Mick Fanning.